Created on 26-07-2008 at 00:00 AM
Lukas Podolski's return to his home town club ended with honours even as Bayern and Köln played out a scoreless stalemate in Saturday's friendly.
The 42,000 crowd at the RheinEnergie stadium saw Miroslav Klose come closest to breaking the deadlock when Köln defender Pedro Geromel deflected the Germany's striker's cross past keeper Faryd Mondragon, but the ball rebounded back into play off the post and Mondragon was able to gather at the second attempt.
The match, which featured a thunderous cloudburst at the start of the second half, produced chances at either end but also evidence of heavy legs on both sides, as the intensity of pre-season training schedules took its toll.
However, given most of the crowd had showed up at least in part to hail arguably the city's best-loved footballing son, even the home fans might have cheered a Podolski goal on this particular afternoon, although it was simply not to be for the 23-year-old as Bayern recorded their first draw in five pre-season friendlies.
FCB coach Jürgen Klinsmann was without five senior squad members in the ancient city on the Rhine. Franck Ribéry is out until the autumn after ankle ligament surgery, José Sosa and Breno are away on Olympic duty, and Tim Borowski and Luca Toni were rested with minor knocks picked up in training the previous day.
Bayern dominated the early exchanges against the defensive home side, but just as in Wednesday's T-Home Supercup encounter in Dortmund, the men from Munich initially struggled to create clear-cut openings.
Podolski out of luck
Klose's 18th-minute effort off the upright was the exception rather than the rule in the home penalty box, but Michael Rensing's goal also rarely came under pressure as the FCB defence easily repelled the Cologne side's sparse attacking efforts. Rensing was finally called into action after 37 minutes, brilliantly blocking the unmarked Miso Brecko's shot from the inside right channel.
Podolski might have handed his side the lead on the stroke of half-time as Willy Sagnol and Hamit Altintop manufactured Munich's best move of the half, only for the Germany striker to miss the target from six yards out. Cologne icon Podolski was also involved in the first notable incident of the second period, diverting a Toni Kroos pass towards Zimbabwe international Joseph Ngwenya, one of six second-half substitutes for the visitors, but the trialist hesitated for an instant and lost possession.
With the rain now bucketing down, Bayern upped the tempo and began passing convincingly, but Marcell Jansen and Kroos were both denied by Mondragon with the hour mark approaching.
Köln boss Chritoph Daum made six changes of his own on 63 minutes and the home side created a good chance for Adil Chihi some eight minutes later, but the striker headed an inviting opportunity over the bar. At the other end, Schweinsteiger fizzed a drive from the edge of the box just wide of the left-hand upright with a quarter of an hour to play.
Back again in seven weeks
With the conditions continuing to deteriorate in the closing stages, the crowd witnessed an end-to-end finale, but neither side was able to force the ball over the line. Podolski then accepted standing ovations from both sets of fans as he completed a lap of honour after the final whistle.
The Cologne faithful's next chance to observe Poldi and Bayern in the flesh comes just seven weeks from now when the sides meet in the Bundesliga on 13 September.